Friday, February 12, 2010

Gary Johnson, Roland Emmerich

Well, the Phillips Foundation gathering scheduled for New York City today fell through because Washingtonians are afraid of snow — whereas little can stop the mighty engine of commerce that is my town, or at least there’s no need to worry that some residual slush will prevent unemployed bankers picking up their welfare checks and using them to buy martinis.

It is not a day without politics, though: Here’s my 2012 presidential candidate pick unless/until someone better than Gary Johnson — some Rand hero, perhaps — comes along. As usual, I’m not saying he’s perfect, but compared to the past, we could do worse than smart, market-friendly, anti-drugwar, and from the coveted and seducable interior West.

Speaking of 2012 and long-term political planning: Roland Emmerich (and the scriptwriter of Saving Private Ryan) will apparently be adapting Isaac Asimov’s revered sci-fi novel Foundation in big-budget 3D IMAX Avatar fashion. I have no idea if the result will bear much resemblance to the novel, which would basically entail multiple segments with different sets of near-identical, bland bureaucrat characters talking about how to run the galaxy through implausible centuries-out statistical planning (the “psychohistory” modeling that tantalized a young Paul Krugman). It would be funny if it were just three hours of IMAX 3D bureaucratic meetings, just to teach audiences a lesson.

But if ever there were a man, however absurd, who we can count on to turn a novel into something gigantic, eye-popping, and ridiculous, it is Roland Emmerich. On balance, I declare this: very good news. Bonus: The greater the emphasis on explosions, the fewer children come away with a Krugman-like fascination with centralized economic planning.

Pure geek addendum: It will be interesting to see if Trantor, in a bit of unfair reverse-chronology, gets likened by viewers to Coruscant, in much the same way that a hypothetical Lensmen movie, if it gets made one day, will probably strike people as being too much like next year’s Green Lantern movie.

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